For most people, dropping a CD into their disc drive and clicking "Import" in iTunes is good enough. For music freaks, though, it's not—and with good reason. Here's how to digitize your tunes, the right way.
First off, some reasons to take this road: iTunes is a decent audio encoder, and it'll get your music from point A—the CD—to points B, C and D—your computer, your MP3 player and your backup drive—without much trouble. But it'll do it with a less-than-great encoder, with occasionally inconsistent tagging, with album art that'll only work on Apple devices, and without support for the best lossless audio formats and MP3 encoding options, which you probably want, whether you know it or not.
In short, the ripping process deserves a little more care than iTunes or Windows Media player can give it. You can pay people for this, which feels dumb and wasteful, or you can do it yourself. It's not difficult, at all. Here's what you do: